Cyberspace Real or Virtual?
In Four Puzzles From Cyberspace, the author provides four stories about cyberspace communities. All these communities are living in a virtual space following their own virtual rules. The author questions the power of these norms, as they are different from the ones established in the real world. He brings up a strong point about these norms use in the cyber world since they are different from the ones applied to the real world and the opportunity that this represents for criminal and illegal behavior. If cyberspace is providing a platform for illegal or criminal behavior to occur, then this virtual space needs to be monitored and regulated by real laws to prevent crimes like child prostitution or citizen’s addictive behaviors like gambling. However, questions about these regulations like what is real and what is not, and when, how and who is responsible for these regulations have been posted by the author as well.
One example of this dilemma is the second story presented by the author, in which a particular state created a law against gambling and its citizens have found a space through the Internet to gamble. In this case if the citizens are losing or gaining real money then regulations are needed since it breaks the law against gambling in that particular state, but what about fake money? Is it right to say that because an illegal practice or behavior is happening in a virtual world then is not affecting real people? According to overcominggambling.com, internet gambling has almost doubled every year since 1997. It also states that “the average debt incurred by a male pathological gambler in the U.S. is between $55,000 and $90,000 (it is $15,000 for female gamblers)” and “Sixty-five percent of pathological gamblers commit crimes to support their gambling habit.” This presents a serious problem like drug addiction or alcoholism and in the real world there are regulations for them. Therefore, regulations are needed in the virtual world in states where gambling is illegal.
The third story about the writer that writes stories of rape, torture and killing of women, and the criminal behavior games like the one that prostitutes children are to be seriously discussed. In the writer scenario, the writer has the right to express himself, for he is not breaking any law. In this case the real question is why was this 16 year old girl reading this disturbing story? Parents need to be more accountable for what their children do when they are in the Internet. This brings me to the game available over the Internet that prostitute children. Where are the parents of the children prostituting themselves in their own rooms? As a professional and a parent, I took action. Back in 2005; I included a section on internet education for the parenting class curriculum improving results in the way Latino parents approached this issue with their children. Prostitution, pornography and bullying are serious problems affecting our children and teens in the virtual and real world. It is easier as a parent to pretend that if our children are in their room that they are safe. This is not true anymore, not if there is a computer with internet access and no regulations.
In conclusion, regulations are needed to avoid illegal and criminal behavior from occurring in the virtual world. It is also true that we have to fight against a system that is new to us; how do we do it? Who would be responsible for this? When is necessary to do it? These are all questions that we must answer first in order to be able to implement these regulations appropriately.